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Southampton: Hasenhuttl had a disaster with Romeu

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s bold decision to sell Southampton fan favourite Oriol Romeu during the summer transfer window has certainly backfired, as the Saints need him now more than ever.

It was made clear to the 31-year-old during the summer that, following the arrival of Romeo Lavia from Manchester City, he would no longer be the first choice to partner James Ward-Prowse in Southampton’s midfield, as he started just once in the Premier League before his exit.

Romeu certainly didn’t fit into Southampton’s identity of playing and developing younger players and after a bright start by Lavia, which included a goal against Chelsea, it seemed as if the Saints wouldn’t miss Romeu too much following his move to Girona.

However, since Lavia’s injury in September, the Austrian boss has been forced to deploy Ibrahima Diallo in the defensive midfield position, and the Frenchman represents a serious downgrade on Romeu, which is perhaps one reason behind their disappointing form so far this campaign.

Diallo has averaged an extremely disappointing 6.19 rating from WhoScored across his nine Premier League appearances so far this season, which ranks him as the worst player in Hasenhuttl’s squad to make at least five starts in the top flight.

Should Southampton have kept Romeu?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Romeu, meanwhile, has averaged a solid 6.73 rating from WhoScored for his performances with Girona this season, and given that he had been at St Mary’s for seven years, making 256 appearances in total, it is hard to understand why Hasenhuttl was so willing to let him move on.

The Spaniard has bettered Diallo in the vast majority of statistics so far this season, averaging more tackles (2.9 vs 1.1), interceptions (0.9 vs 0.2) and key passes (0.8 vs 0.1) per game, which suggests that he is far and away the better player.

Hasenhuttl was a huge fan of Romeu and sang his praises in 2020, saluting his commitment both on and off the pitch.

He said: “I have never seen a professional like him before in my entire managing career. He’s one of the most professional guys I’ve ever seen.

“When you see him as a professional, how he reacts when he’s not first choice, it’s unbelievable. He’s always the first on the pitch, always hard working. I think for this, they love him here.”

This just makes Hasenhuttl’s decision to let him go even more baffling, as it is clear that he would have been a good player for the Saints to have in their current disappointing form, as he is almost certainly an upgrade on Diallo in midfield.

Article title: Southampton: Hasenhuttl had a disaster with Romeu

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